Sueyoshi no Kon (Bojutsu Kata Series)

Originally Sueyoshi no Kon and Soeishi no Kon are thought to have come from the same lineage and there are many similarities in the performance line (enbusen) and techniques found in these two Kata. Since Sueyoshi (Shīshi) and Soeishi (Shīishi) have almost the same pronunciation in Okinawan dialect, it is also possible that they mixed up over time without being noticed.

There is also a discussion that Sueyoshi and Soeishi were orignally one and the same thing, but in Taira lineage Kobudō there is a clear distinction between Sueyoshi no Kon and Soeishi no Kon. In addition, in Nakamoto Masahiro’s “Okinawa Dentō Kobudō“ it is said that

“Born in Shuri Gibu village, Sueyoshi Pēchin Anfu (Chinese-style name: Tei Chōretsu) was well-known as a master of the Bōjutsu called Sueyoshi no Kon.”

Below is a reconstruction of Sueyoshi no Kon I filmed in 2013. It as done according to Taira Shinken’s 1964 description in his Ryukyu Kobudo Taikan. It is also 100% congruent with the version described in text and photo by Inue Motokatsu himself in his 1974 work. This version is only very slightly different to the one I’ve personally learned from Leif Hermansson Sensei via the lineage Taira Shinken → Inoue Motokatsu → Leif Hermansson.

It is done slow here to clearly show every technique. This is because it is a historical reconstruction and I thought others might want to follow each move. I also prohibited myself from “wiggling for applications” and just did the thing that the description said. So don’t scold me for being slow: it is the art thing going on here 😉

After all I came across in my field studies, and I’ve been to Taira lineage dojos on Okinawa, and talked to a lot of very famous people, Sueyoshi no Kon does not exist anymore on Okinawabut exists on kata lists hanging in some dojo in name only. I have been training in Taira lineage for some years (15+) and even while explicitly looking for it I never came across Sueyoshi no Kon in Okinawa. This said, there are “Japanese” schools who preserved it. I have also been informed about one Okinawa Taira lineage school who works on readopting Sueyoshi no Kon.

I repeat: 1) Taira Shinken’s own description + 2) Inoue Motokatsu’s own description + 3) personally learned from a 2nd generation student of Taira Shinken + 4) researched but not located in Okinawa.

If that ain’t expertise enough for you chosen few, I kindly ask you to go hell.

Here is another version of Sueyoshi no Kon which I drafted myself. It is done slow here to clearly show every technique. It is based on Taira’s 1964 description, but it was adopted to the formal rules used in many Okinawa Kobudo dojo today. For example, Taira’s Uchi-uke was replaced by the ever recurring Tsuki/kamae as often found in Okinawa’s Taira lineage schools today.

I would really love to see this kata more on tournaments.

© 2015 – 2016, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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